Leonore Overture

collects the music and arts criticism of Keith Powers

Reviews from Montserrat, Endicott exhibitions

Jess Dugan, Self-Portrait.

Jess Dugan, Self-Portrait.

A series of exhibitions continues the engaging work being shown in the public galleries at Endicott College and at Montserrat College of Art. 

A lively ceramic sculpture exhibition in Endicott College’s Heftler Visiting Artist Gallery focuses on the antic figures of Kyungmin Park. At Montserrat, the 301 Gallery has an automatic drawing project on display, and the main gallery has Jess Dugan’s identity photographs, “Every Breath We Drew.”

Dugan shows half-a-dozen color photo portraits. She writes “they depict the type of gentle masculinity I am attracted to,” a beautiful way of describing the intimate views she creates of herself and others.

“Every Breath We Drew” an concise selection from a large portfolio (at jessdugan.com) of unsmiling subjects. The entire portfolio has solid stylistic integrity, creating a difference in each subject, while maintaining a singular artistic sense of purpose. 

The exhibition does its best to capture a feeling for the larger portfolio. The photographs appeal with lush textures and erotic overtones; the tight-lipped subjects add a sense of mystery and reserve. Enjoy both these gallery prints and the online version.

“Automatic,” on view in Montserrat’s 301 Cabot storefront space, uses brain activity to plot drawings. The exhibition was conceived by Sarah Trahan and Andrew Sliwinski. The brains come from artists—that is, the electrodes attached to the artists. The drawings come from a machine that reads the electrodes’ output. 

The resulting “automatic” drawings (this Surrealist notion—the artist using a subconscious method—now seems quaintly dated) are predictably similar. Layered ink-on-paper, with curlicue lines, they create a larger shape, but without any texture. The entire process is on display, though, including the electrode headsets, details of the artists’ activities, and the finally, the squiggly ink drawings. 

The artists are all engaged in some kind of practice—Emily Fox working a letterpress; Meghan Kausel painting; Trahan drawing; Brian Pellinen writing—while the electrodes are making their readings. That artwork, the plotted drawings, and the equipment needed to make them, are all collected here in “Automatic.”  

“Uniting the Figure” at Endicott College displays a dozen small ceramic sculptures. Curated by Kyungmin Park and predominantly showing her work, the room also has samples from other artists in the collective known as Ceramic Sculpture Culture. That collective works in narrative and figurative sculpture, extending the artistic scope of ceramics.

Exploring the figure, in antic ways, is the focus of this exhibition. 

Many sculptures have a bit of Stephen King in them—a scary childhood feeling, like Park’s large “Guardian,” or her “Belly Canvas,” or Gunyoung Kim’s “Blooms I.” Some have a straightforward nostalgia, like Park’s “Inheritance.” All the work is fanciful and captivating—some in an unsettled way. 

“Uniting the Figure” runs through May 25 at Endicott; Jess Dugan’s photographs are on view through March 16, and “Automatic” through March 12, at Montserrat. Visit www.montserrat.edu/galleries or call 978-867-9623; www.endicott.edu or call 978-232-2655.

Boston Ballet continues partnership with William Forsythe performance. Reviewed

Boston Lyric Opera stages Benjamin Britten's "Rape of Lucretia."